There is a men’s magazine I enjoy reading, and I’m sure you’re all familiar with it: Esquire. It has been around since 1933 and apart from having some of the best cover designs in the print industry today, by no fail I anticipate a particular feature that they regularly run — their lists. Be it the Worst 10 Men in Congress to teh 75 Most Influential Men in the 21st Century, I await these lists because I know that the headstrong staff put a lot of effort in building these lists.
I’m not sure if I can say the same for blogs. About a few years ago “Top 10” lists have invaded the blogosphere not so much as an editorial feature, but as a tool for link baiting — and I must say that it still works to this very day, but with less effect. Truth is, with all the hype on link bait tips to score more traffic, the list seems to be the easiest to manufacture: choose a topic, pull out pop culture knowledge as reference, and there you have it — a list.
There’s a reason why Esquire succeeds in the list making:
1. they don’t do if often
2. they’ve got more than 70 years of credibility backing them up
3. their lists are well researched
Of the three, bloggers can probably work on number two and three — before building lists, maybe it would be a good idea to establish yourself first as an authority in something. Because of the way things work, people tend to categorize and remember you for one thing only. So ask yourself, if you want to be authoritative in something, what would that be? You can’t be good in everything.
Personally, I don’t agree with this. I think there is so much going online and so much information flow that if you screw up, it won’t matter so long as you continually up your game.
Lists are part of the human psyche. We think in lists. We communicate in lists. That’s why linkbait works.
It’s a basic equation. Bloggers are human beings who communicate. Human beings communicate in lists. Therefore, bloggers will naturally communicate in lists.
Not to mention that lists are great fodder for debate and conversation (another primary activity of blogging).
So, please, don’t give up on the lists.